Charter schools are too often the final destination for at-risk children before they drop out of the school system entirely and become the grim statistics we continue to wring our hands about.
The Life Skills Center of Denver is one of those schools, accepting some 260 students who, for whatever reason, could not succeed – or even survive – in a traditional public school. But the school hasn’t show improvements in student performance, and its attendance rate of 45 percent is the worst of all alternative-education schools in Denver Public Schools.
Charter schools are public institutions that are privately operated under contract with school districts. Life Skills Center is run by an Ohio-based for-profit company, White Hat Management. But the students are still Denver kids, and DPS’s responsibility.
This Rocky Mountain News article describes White Hat’s efforts to challenge the closing, as well as its other failures that convinced Denver to close it in the first place.
Charter proponents will argue that what’s unfair in the above scenario is that public schools can have abysmal stats on success with kids, and never be closed. But that philosophy – whether or not it’s based in reality – is irrelevant because it does nothing to change the fact that the charters are failing. It is a completely specious argument to say, well, public schools don’t have to close if they stink, why should for-profit charters, or not for profit charters for that matter, have to close if they stink?
No can do as a valid argument.
In the meantime, how many editorials like this will we have to see in Ohio? Hopefully, based on Governor Strickland’s desire for a moratorium on new charters and a ban on for-profit charters, very, very few.
Hattip Kathy Bracy’s Blog (an excellent resource btw).